There is a lot that is unique about the culture of the University of Dallas. We celebrate Thursday nights, revel in philosophical discussions, and passionately mark Groundhog Day, to name a few.
While many of the fun quirks that are present at UD are essential for creating a beautiful community for independent scholars, there are some things about the culture of UD that are not.
One thing that harms more than helps is the incredibly high amount of smoking on campus.
Almost every time you walk down the Mall, outside the Cap bar, or by the Rathskeller during dinner, you will catch more than a whiff of tobacco smoke. Almost any student can tell you that smoking is part of the culture at UD.
Why is there such a high amount of smoking? Some suggest that the Rome program is partly to blame because many students pick up the habit in Europe, where cigarettes are cheap and smoking during conversation is socially encouraged..
Others say smoking is just a good way to introduce yourself to others and to integrate into the UD social life.
Whatever the reasons, we need to kick this habit and stop offering defenses for it.
First, smoking has extremely negative health consequences. Cigarettes are highly addictive and are known to cause chronic and terminal disease.
Beyond that, it’s regrettable that so many social circles are formed around smoking to the exclusion of students who won’t or can’t be around cigarette smoke.
Some upperclassmen have actually encouraged freshmen to take up smoking as a way of relating to others and carrying on a conversation.
The problem with this is that many students simply cannot be around cigarette smoke.
Students who are asthmatic as well as students who have an intolerance or allergy to cigarette smoke cannot be anywhere near those who are smoking.
Those who are asthmatic can have asthma attacks and will not be able to breathe. Those who have allergies can experience a painful swelling of the face and a burning sensation in their eyes and nose.
There are also many students who do not have a medical issue with cigarette smoke, but simply do not wish to be around it due to fear of becoming addicted or because they find it unpleasant.
There are more of these students than some would think, and most of them feel excluded from the culture at UD because they are not able to participate as fully as their friends who smoke .
Non-smokers must be absent from otherwise beneficial conversations or social events due to the pervasive smoking at UD.
As an addiction to smoking leads to the blackening of the lungs, so the culture of smoking at UD leads to the dampening of all the other wonderful aspects of UD’s community.
If we really examine UD’s mission and history, we should conclude that smoking should be a fading practice on campus.
We are dedicated to seeking truth — and the truth about cigarettes couldn’t be any clearer.
How can we claim to be searching for truth when we know the truth of something, yet we ignore it?
Hopefully, we can one day rid the University of Dallas campus of the hazy culture formed around smoking.